Following the global success of the exhilarating, entirely driver-oriented GT86, the FT-86 Open concept, which was recently revealed at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, has been created to gauge customer reaction to the possible launch of a convertible version of Toyota’s remarkable, front ‘boxer’ engined, rear-wheel drive, compact 2+2 sports car.
The FT-86 Open concept is designed to combine all the lively, accessible performance and highly engaging, readily exploitable dynamic abilities of the GT86 with the even greater levels of driving pleasure derived from open-topped motoring.
167 inches long, 70 inches wide, 50 inches high and with a wheelbase of 101 inches, the FT-86 Open concept features a multi-layered fabric roof construction with a glass rear screen.
The concept vehicle retains the GT86’s 2+2 seating format, the roof being stowed behind fixed rear seats with minimal impact on luggage capacity.
Using an intense contrast between pure bright white and the modern navy blue, the colour combination has been designed to express the sense of elegant performance, fully reflecting the spirit and the atmosphere of Milan, one of the world leaders in fashion design.
The concept’s elegant, white exterior, navy blue fabric roof and pure bright white interior upholstery and trim create a luxurious yet sporting image. Appropriately reflecting the ultimate symbol of sporting success, the carpets are finished in a golden yellow hue.
The FT-86 Open concept’s unique colour scheme is further coordinated through the use of a navy blue backing to the upholstery perforation holes and golden yellow accent stitching to the seat leather.
The FT-86 Open concept shares the platform and powertrain of the GT86; the world’s first horizontally opposed engine with D-4S injection technology –a 2.0L, low centre of gravity, naturally aspirated, high-revving sports engine capable of developing 100 DIN bhp per litre- driving the rear wheels via a short throw, ‘flick of the wrist’ manual gear shift or a 6-speed automatic transmission with the world’s fastest paddle shifting speed of only 0.2 seconds.
MacPherson strut front and double wishbone rear suspension systems offer direct handling feel, instant response and superb controllability; electric power steering offers a quick, 13.1 gear ratio on a par with that of racing cars; and large all-round ventilated disc brakes offer unique pedal feel for car control finesse.
Toyota has identified numerous areas within which further engineering evaluation must be undertaken. Detailed assessment will be required to establish the impact on performance of any changes in vehicle rigidity, balance, weight and aerodynamics.
Because, through the adoption of such features as frameless doors, the GT86 was designed ‘package protected’ with a cabriolet in mind, the impact on structural rigidity of conversion to an open-topped bodyshell is not expected to be great. Furthermore, various efficient solutions to preserve rigidity are being analysed, such as the use of door lock reinforcements.
The GT86 boasts a near perfect, 53:47 weight distribution for ideal response to even subtle steering, throttle and brake inputs, and an ultra-low centre of gravity of just 18.1 inches. Whilst the adoption of a fabric roof is likely to have a positive effect on the centre of gravity, lowering it even further, detailed engineering analysis will be required to match the balance of the coupe.
Comprehensive weight saving measures give the GT86 a total vehicle weight of only 2,771 lbs, and a resultant power-to-weight ratio of some 160 DIN bhp per tonne. The best possible power-to-weight ratio being fundamental to performance in a vehicle with a relatively small capacity engine, engineering a cabriolet as ‘weight-neutral’ relative to the coupe represents a key area of study in the event of the project progressing to fruition.
Posted: March 10th, 2013
at 10:55pm by The Sub-Editor
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